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Oscillatory signatures of neurodegeneration in the human brain

Applications are invited for a 3-year doctorate at the University of Oxford. The doctorate will be supervised by Professors Kia Nobre and Mark Woolrich, and will be based at the Oxford centre for Human Brain Activity (OHBA), part of the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN -  https://www.win.ox.ac.uk). The project will explore the network dynamics and oscillatory signatures in neurodegeneration (e.g., Parkinson’s Disease (PD)) using electrophysiological data (MEG and EEG) in humans. This will provide more precise and interpretable brain measurements, allowing us to track cortical dysfunction and decline in the earliest stages of disease, and also inform new therapies.

We will characterise the brain’s activity from a recently emerging perspective, which is that of fast bursting events of oscillatory activity. Specifically, we will use new machine learning approaches to map the dynamics of transient bursting events in the brain’s network activity at rapid, milli-second timescales, and on a trial-by-trial basis in task-experiments. Using new techniques based on Empirical Mode Decomposition, we will also pursue the idea that the shape of oscillations (i.e. how “sinusoidal” they are) is representative of underlying computations, and that the shapes may be distorted in neurodegeneration.

The student will be based at Oxford, but will also be part of a European School of Network Neuroscience (http://eusnn.eu), a new Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network that includes many of the leading network neuroscience research laboratories across Europe. The student will spend time at other laboratories in the consortium, including the UKE in Hamburg, through which they will receive excellent training and research secondment opportunities. Please note that to be eligible, applicants must not have spent more than 12 months in the United Kingdom over the last 3 years.

Applications will be processed through the Department of Psychiatry. Information on how to apply can be found here.